Korea’s Elton fans will finally get a visit

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Korea’s Elton fans will finally get a visit

Babies who were born the year Elton John had his first hit are 35 years old now. It’s probably about time he paid Korea a visit.
The 58-year-old English pop star will perform in Korea for the first time on Sept. 17 at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul. Tickets are on sale now; if you’ve got 300,000 won ($260), you can get one of the best seats in the house. It’s a mere 50,000 won to sit in the cheap seats.
Mr. John, whose given name is Reginald Dwight, is certainly one of the most prolific hitmakers of his generation, one of the few who could be mentioned in the same breath with the Beatles. He’s also been one of the most versatile. He’s gone from sensitive singer-songwriter (“Your Song”) to flamboyantly costumed superstar (“The Bitch Is Back”) to roly-poly, leathery-voiced drug casualty (the “That’s What Friends Are For” period) to trimmed-down, sobered-up, hair-implanted manufacturer of lucrative Disney soundtrack music (“The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”). “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Daniel,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” “Rocket Man,” “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Tiny Dancer” and “Bennie and the Jets” (which R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, supposedly, once called one of the 10 best singles ever recorded) are a few of the dozens of Elton John songs that seem likely to survive as long as there are people who like a standard, verse-chorus-verse pop song with a catchy melody and unchallenging but evocative lyrics. (His longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin usually handled the words.) Though the peak of his stardom was in the 1970s, he never became a has-been; according to VH1.com, he placed at least one single in the Top 40 every year from 1970 to 1996.
In 1997, Mr. John reworded his 1970s song “Candle in the Wind,” originally an ode to Marilyn Monroe, and performed it at Princess Diana’s funeral; the ensuing single was the fastest-selling single ever in both Britain and the United States, and became the biggest hit of Mr. John’s career (he was knighted soon afterward). It prompted a remark from Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones that Mr. John only seemed to write songs for dead blondes lately. Mr. John responded that Mr. Richards was “a monkey with arthritis.”
Mr. John, whose Seoul stop is part of an Asian tour that includes Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan, will be appearing with a full backup band and with the Yamaha piano he travels with, according to press materials.
For ticket information, call (02) 2113-3480.

by David Moll
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